Michigan Scouting Report: Special Teams

It's time to start preparing for the Vanderbilt game next Saturday. So GoBlueWolverine presents its Michigan Scouting Report. Next, "ErocWolverine" profiles the 2006 Wolverine special teams -- new co-co-co-co coordinators and key players.

2006 Michigan Wolverines Scouting Report: Michigan Special Teams:

  There is no single special teams coach this year since Coach Carr added another coach to the defensive side of the ball, so the coaching duties have been split among the staff.
-- Ron Lee is in charge of punt return team,
-- Fred Jackson works with the kickoff return team,
-- Mike DeBord takes the punt team and
-- Steve Stripling will oversee the kickoff team.
Not having a special teams coach might actually be a good thing for the Michigan program since having all these different position coaches taking a part in special teams could lead to having the best players on the special team units.

Garrett Rivas #38 - 5th year senior (FG Kicker) has been selected to the Preseason Watch List for the Lou Groza Collegiate Placekicker Award and will be a four year starter. Rivas is a guy that is pretty consistent inside 40 yards, but seems to struggle past 40 yards and he does not have a booming leg. Bryan Wright #43 - freshman (FG Kicker) will probably red shirt and be ready to take over the starting field goal responsibilities in 2007.

Steve Breaston #15 - 5th year senior (WR) will be the main punt returner, but probably in certain situations Leon Hall #29 - senior (CB), Doug Dutch #81 - red shirt sophomore (WR) and Johnny Sears #25 - red shirt freshman (CB) might get their chance at returning punts to 'spell' Breaston.

Ross Ryan #3 - 5th year senior (Kicker/Punter) does the kick off duties and possibly/probably the punting duties as well. Ryan last year was the punter, but Michigan has Zoltan Mesko #41 red shirt freshman (Punter) who might get his chance if the coaches believe he can be consistent when the pressure is on. Mesko has a big-time leg that has the great hang time as well, but the problem has been that one kick is great and then the next kick goes off the side of his foot.

Steve Breaston will be the main kickoff returner, but look for Doug Dutch, Johnny Sears and possible Carlos Brown #23 - freshman (RB).
v   Garrett Rivas Field Goal stats:
In 2005 Rivas converted 19-of-26 field goals and 33-of-35 PATs. For his career he has made 47-of-62 field goals and 120-of-127 PATs. Rivas has connected on 17 of 20 field goals from 20-29 yards out, 18 of 23 from 30-39 yards away, 10 of 17 between 40-49 yards and 0 of 2 from 50 yards and beyond. His career long is 47 yards which he hit that four different occasions.

  Ross Ryan Kickoff and Punting stats:
In 2005 Ryan had 40 of his 69 kickoffs downed for touchbacks, and he punted 52 times for an average of 38.3 yards a punt with five punts going for 50 yards or better and 16 punts knocked inside the opposition's 20-yard line.

  Steve Breaston Kickoff return and Punt return stats:

In 2005 Breaston returned 29 punts for 356 yards (12.3 avg.) and 23 kickoffs for 646 yards (28.1 avg.) and one touchdown. Breaston holds Michigan's career record in punt return yardage and is second in kickoff return yards. He is second in Big Ten history in punt return yards. In his career he has 98 punt returns for 1,267 yards (12.9 avg.) and three touchdowns. He has set Michigan season records in punt returns (45) and yards (619) in 2003. He has 60 kickoff returns for 1,526 yards (25.4 avg.) and one TD during his career. He gained over 1,300 all-purpose yards all three seasons. He hasas five career games with at least 200 all-purpose yards, including a Rose Bowl record 315 yards against Texas (2005) and an Alamo Bowl record 224 yards against Nebraska (2005). Breaston became first player in Michigan history to gain 1,000 return yards in a season during the 2005 season (1,002 yards on 52 touches), and joined Wisconsin's Nick Davis as the only players in Big Ten history to amass 1,000 career yards in three different categories.

  Leon Hall Punt return stats:
Hall served as Michigan's backup punt returner the past three seasons, and for his career has13 punt returns for 166 yards (12.8 avg.) and one touchdown.

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